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Trade Coverage

NHL Trade Buzz: Jonathan Quick may be Kings' answer

Expected return of goaltender could prep Los Angeles for playoff run; Senators, Flames mulling moves

by Lisa Dillman @reallisa / NHL.com Staff Writer

Welcome to the NHL Trade Buzz. There are seven days remaining until the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline (3 p.m. ET, March 1) and the injury-riddled Ottawa Senators could be active. Also, an update on the Los Angeles Kings goalie situation, and the juggling for the present and future for NHL general managers. Here's a look around the League at the latest deadline doings:

 

The Los Angeles Kings have made splashy moves leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline, acquiring Jeff Carter in 2012 from the Columbus Blue Jackets and Marian Gaborik in 2014, also from the Blue Jackets.

The Kings won the Stanley Cup in each of those seasons after those trades. But this season, the Kings' biggest addition to their roster would be goaltender Jonathan Quick, rather than any other deal made.

Quick injured his groin in the first period of the season opener at the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 12. He practiced Tuesday, and if all goes well, he could be back in a couple of weeks. FOX Sports West said this week he is targeting mid-March.

"I put a lot of work in to get where we are right now," Quick said recently. "You just want to stick with it and trust in the process and hopefully everything works out and everything is back to 100 percent. You can't get ahead of yourself."

Quick is used to being patient during a long injury recovery. This one is far more challenging than the months after his back surgery in the summer of 2012 and the groin injury that kept him out for about a month and a half during the 2013-14 season.

Video: LAK@SJS: Quick makes a series of saves on doorstep

One potential option for Quick in the days ahead would be a brief rehabilitation stint with the Kings' American Hockey League affiliate in Ontario before he returns to NHL game action, but Los Angeles wants to see how he fares in the next week or so.

It placed backup goaltender Jeff Zatkoff on waivers Wednesday, looking for more roster flexibility at the deadline. Zatkoff, signed to a two-year contract on July 1, has appeared in 13 games. His last start was Jan. 23 against the New York Rangers, and he played the third period in relief against the Washington Capitals on Feb. 5.

With the Kings in a tightly contested Stanley Cup Playoff race in the Western Conference, they will exclusively use goalie Peter Budaj until Quick returns, evidenced by him playing on consecutive nights, losing to the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Saturday and to the Anaheim Ducks 1-0 on Sunday.

The Kings have managed to stay in the race without Quick, who praised the leadership of Carter, who leads the Kings with 53 points (29 goals, 24 assists) in 59 games.

"It doesn't surprise me," Quick said. "I would say he'd have to be in the mix for MVP for what he's done. I'd be very surprised if he wasn't. Not only is he doing it on the ice but he's doing [it] in the locker room too."

 

Vancouver Canucks

There could be some clarity in the next few days regarding goaltender Ryan Miller's future with the Vancouver Canucks.

News 1130 Sports in Vancouver reported that Miller's agent, Mike Liut, would be taking to him about trade deadline possibilities but that nothing has been decided.

Miller, in the final year of a three-year, $18 million contract, could be an insurance policy for a contending team.

The list of potential destinations is not long. TSN reported that Miller has a modified no-trade clause, a list of five preferred teams that includes the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks.

The Kings are anticipating the return of goalie Jonathan Quick from a season-long groin injury to join Peter Budaj. The Ducks have Jonathan Bernier backing up John Gibson, and the Sharks have Aaron Dell backing up Martin Jones.

The Sharks last season acquired James Reimer from the Toronto Maple Leafs in a pre-deadline trade to back up Jones.

Video: PHI@VAN: Miller stones Voracek before freezing puck

 

Ottawa Senators

The green light from Senators ownership to make moves designed to qualify for the playoffs does not necessarily mean unproductive center Curtis Lazar will be traded.

There is interest, but Senators general manager Pierre Dorion is proceeding cautiously. Lazar, the No. 17 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, has one assist and is a minus-9 in 32 games.

The Senators play at the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-CR, TSN5, RDS, NHL.TV), and Dorion told reporters on the trip he met with Lazar's agent.

"Teams have phoned about him," Dorion said later in an interview with TSN 1200 Ottawa on Wednesday. "We're going to be careful how we handle Curtis. It was a very productive meeting [with the agent]. It was about minutes played. From Day One, we've said that the coach [Guy Boucher] will decide how many minutes played.

"We're not just going to give him away."

Dorion told TSN radio that contract talks with goaltender Mike Condon and forward Tom Pyatt would commence after the trade deadline.

"They've both been good parts of our hockey team but they're both parts that can be replaced," Dorion said. "We're going to do what we think is fair and right for both those players. We'd like to keep them, but at the end of the day I think we've got enough depth in our organization that they can be replaced."

 

Calgary Flames

The big names get all the attention, naturally. In reality, there could be merely smaller moves in the days leading up to the deadline, like the trade the Flames made Monday when they acquired defenseman Michael Stone from the Arizona Coyotes for two draft choices.

There are more factors for front-office executives to consider this year, Flames general manager Brad Treliving said.

"The other thing that plays a role here is the expansion draft," Treliving said. "Mike is on an expiring contract. Everybody's situation is a little bit different. But if you bring somebody on with term -- how does that impact? -- and you're giving up assets for them, that's fine. ... There may be those kind of deals.

"But you have one eye on today and one eye on tomorrow. All of a sudden, if you do something and you're giving up assets and you put yourself in a little bit of a [bind] for the expansion draft."

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